You lost your job. Now what?

At 24 years old, you don’t expect to lose your job, before you can leave it. No one ever wants to lose their source of income, but it happens. You could have been laid off because of a shortage of work, poor performance in the workplace, or maybe you somehow managed to be terminated for violating a workplace rule. It doesn’t matter how it happened – no one enjoys losing their job!

Rule #1: Before you leave that termination/lay off meeting, find out exactly how the items inside your desk are getting to you if they have already told you that you cannot touch them. Feel free to give the Department of Labor a call and ask some general questions if you’re not sure about something.

Monday will be seven days since finding myself unemployed. Up until this point, I never took heed to the “have six months of back up money in the bank”. My budget has been so tight since moving to New Haven that I have almost no money in my account and I feel so incredibly foolish. As soon as you lose your job, there are a few things you need to take care of:

  1. Look up the unemployment rules for the state you live/work in. I worked in New York, but I live in Connecticut. The current rule is to file where you were employed. You will need to make sure to have all of your personal information and your W2 so you can apply for unemployment payments. The first week of unemployment is always an unpaid waiting week so be sure that all of your finances for the week are settled and that you have enough to cover any bills due.
  2. Take a day to organize your update and polish your resume(s), make lists of your career interests, research companies you may want to apply to, and update your LinkedIn information. I would also recommend talking to your contacts and rounding up your references, just in case an application requires them.
  3. Don’t waste time before applying to positions. I usually apply in batches based on location and job type. I am currently looking for roles all over Connecticut and in Manhattan.

I actually feel like the biggest question has been, “What Do YOU Want to Do?” I really am not sure which career path I want to follow next. I am going to school for publishing, but I also have interest in events planning, interior design, fashion, public relations, and the list could go on for days. Right now, I am making lists and organizing the files of my computer and researching each possible path for my new life.

Rule #2: Build a new routine.

Create a new daily schedule that you will stick to because this will really help you remain focused and determined. They say that it takes 21 days to really adopt a new habit, but day 1 is the hardest day if it never comes. I made sure to start this week off right. I woke up at 8AM and whipped out my Yoga mat.

My new routine is going to be hitting the gym every weekday morning. I have wanted to be one of those morning gym people forever and so I am finally going to be one of them! On the weekends, my mornings start with Yoga, right here in my apartment. On the weekdays, after the gym, I will apply for jobs until about noon and then work on my novel for a bit.

Rule #3: Lean on a few shoulders

Use this time to really lean on your family, your friends, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your fling, whoever you have in your life that makes you smile or makes you feel good and can help support you – lean on that person or group of people. This has probably been a major setback in your life plan and it’s really important to know that you have a network of people standing tall behind you. No one likes falling down and getting dirty, but someone will help you stand back up and will wipe the dirt off your back so you can keep moving.

Social Media Brand Management: Public or Private?

Many of us who use social media are hesitant to create an account with public access. It is very common to use the “Request Access Only” privacy settings, whether this is on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or even here on WordPress. This is because protecting your brand is of the utmost importance in this never-ending age of the internet footprint. You might not consider yourself as a brand, but anyone who has applied to college, internships, jobs, etc, should be hyper-aware of who you share your information with, what you are putting out into the world, and considering how it could be perceived by future educators, employers, or even a future a spouse.

When I post things online, sure – I do not always make the best judgment calls when voicing a strongly worded opinion or when I tweet angrily at the MTA. More often than not, I use more swear words than a sailor. At this point, my past posts are what they are and I cannot change them, rather I make them a part of my life journey on the internet. This is why taking control of the information, its viewers, and what you follow is so so important!

1.  Setting up your privacy

I have different settings across the many platforms that I utilize as a modern-age twenty-something. Facebook and Instagram are my more secured profiles. You must request access to be my friend before viewing any section of my profile. This feature allows me to select exactly who has the full access pass to my online life. I don’t just hand out this pass to anyone. There is a lot of digging that goes on before I press the “Accept” button, and even then I can still go back and “Un-friend” or “Un-follow” if I see something I am not sure I want to be associated with.

My Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and WordPress are all a part of the more public online version of myself. Some days, my Twitter follows are flooded with the weirdest of accounts, but I make sure to review these thoroughly in efforts to protect who and what my brand is associated with. For example, there seems to be an inundation of porn-based Twitter accounts lately. This week alone, I have seen 15-20 requests from accounts like this. There is no reason they follow me other than to gain more followers. As soon as I see one of these accounts has followed my account I do two things: Block and Report.

I block and report these accounts for a few reasons. First, because I really do not want them looking at my account. Who knows who this person is? Normally, the name is a bunch of nonsense, the profile is full of links to porn sites, and the pictures are of breasts, vaginas, and butts. I don’t want my timeline full of that. The second reason is that I fear that these accounts could be hackers attempting to gain access to my personal information. Finally, I report these accounts because sexually explicit accounts such as these should not be on Twitter. I feel like Twitter accounts with erotic content need to have some substance to them or a real purpose other than spamming users with pictures of pussy.

2. Managing your followers and who you follow

It is really important to closely monitor some of the people who try to engage with you on social media. I make it my business to follow accounts and accept requests from users that reflect my values as a person in society and the working world. If you are a conservative Catholic with Pro-Life values, you are probably not going to want to follow Southern New England Planned Parenthood or any of the women’s pro-choice movement accounts. However, you might follow and friend other folks online who believe in the same things you do as a way of building your own personal network and breeding a safe online environment for yourself.

Personally, I choose to avoid most accounts that conflict with my liberal, left-wing, pro-choice, BLM, Clinton supporting beliefs. I also try to follow as many accounts that have to do with my interests in the publishing industry, creative writing, and becoming a published author. When a new account follows me or requests to follow me, the first thing I do is check to see what content is viewable to me. If I can see pictures they have posted or articles they share, then I click through and see if their values align with mine. As long as there is nothing hateful, discriminatory, or Donald Trump-related, then I will often allow this account to follow mine. I do not always follow back, but I will, 99% of the time, allow you to view my account.

Being pickier when accepting follower requests gives you the power over your content. You would not want some Muslim-hate group to take an article you wrote about inclusivity, twist the words around, and use your name in something awful. As a life rule, I do not give access to anyone whom I have no association with if they make crude jokes about women or post pictures or articles about guns/gun violence.

Part of managing who you follow, in a less extreme way, is just thinking before friending all of your co-workers or associates. Do you manage people at work? Maybe think before friending them and posting pictures of your boozy Christmas parties or that kegger that you went to last week. What is the company culture? What is your position within the company? If you work in customer service, perhaps try not to bash your customers on your page because you never know who will find you and see it, even with privacy settings.

3. Controlling the information

The final piece of online brand management is just always remaining true to yourself. Post the things that you see value in and speak from the heart. Share articles that have accurate information, are from reliable sources, and will actually contribute to the conversation. Always write eloquently, check spelling and grammar, and check your facts. When I write anything, I use Grammarly. You can download it as an extension on your browser and it will underline anything that needs a correction. It is an incredibly handy little tool when you are writing online! The next time you are just sitting and playing around on your laptop, go to incognito mode on Google Chrome and just search your name. See what comes up and look at it through someone else’s eyes. Have a friend or family member do this as well as a way of checking yourself. It is always better to monitor your online image from the start rather than have a stranger approach you and dredge up content that might be embarrassing or better-off-buried.

Brand management is not something I talk about professionally, but my hope is that others can use my suggestions and lessons as a way of better monitoring their online presence.

Walking with my head toward the sky

When you walk through the streets of Manhattan, do you ever notice the people around you? Do we ever take the time to lift our heads and our noses up from our phones and just really see the people or the buildings?

I will admit that on days when I am stressed out or feeling insecure, I will walk with my eyes glued to the screen of my phone, but I do my best to keep foot traffic flowing and avoid bumping into strangers. No one is perfect.

During my brief walk from Bryant Park on 42nd to the Fred E. French Building on 45th, I noticed that everyone walking next to or in front of me was staring down at the screen of their cell phone or behind the viewfinder of a camera. A young girl was moving at such a pace that she tripped into a woman because she never looked up – not once. She never thought to take her eyes off the screen and stop texting to check to see if someone was in front of her.

Texting while walking really grinds my gears. I cannot stand being stuck behind someone who is moving at a snails pace because she has her nose in her phone. In this digital age, it is so important that you look up and take in the sights once in a while. Not only is it rude, but it is actually dangerous! The New York Times, the Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, USA Today... the list goes on. These major journalistic outlets have studied this exact topic and have shown just how dangerous this nasty habit is. Take a look at this video:

NYT Texting & Walking

In Gait & Posture, Eric Lambert found that texting while walking produces navigational errors and that gait velocity is reduced when using a cell phone to text or talk. (2012) When you are looking down, you are limiting what can be seen around your person. You develop multiple blind spots, whereas there would only be one if you walked with your head up and watching for danger. Basically, walking and texting is like you are wearing a blindfold and you are prone to serious injuries. According to the NSC (National Safety Council), between 2000 and 2011, walking while using your cell phone accounted for 11,100 injuries.

There is also the courtesy factor.

It is completely inconsiderate of texters to come to a complete stop in the middle of a busy NYC sidewalk, staircase, or entry-way. Blocking foot traffic in Manhattan is a dangerous all by itself, but then you factor in that people are not even noticing that bodies are moving towards them!

What’s the considerate or proper technique you may ask. Well, you should really pull over to the side of the sidewalk, complete your text, Google searches or whatever you need to look down and view and then proceed down the street. Practicing pedestrian etiquette will allow for others to continue walking without obstruction and will lower pedestrian accident rates.

“Petextrian” accidents have risen to more than 3.5 percent, according to a report by the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association). Teenagers make up more than 40% of these accidents because they cross streets while texting and cannot detect the oncoming dangers while being distracted by mobile devices. Of course, driving while distracted or impaired will ALWAYS be the number one cause for accidents, texting while walking is a menace to pedestrians just trying to make it to the end of the next block.

Please, next time you are out, do me a favor – pick your head up and notice the world around you. Notice the world outside of the cell phone!

Counting the days

My first graduate class starts at the end of this month, and I am nowhere near ready to be back inside of a classroom quite yet. I need to figure out if I am going to do the whole laptop in class schtick or my classic hand-written notations approach. I prefer not having the distraction of my laptop for class, but after a full day of work will my brain be able to keep up otherwise?

What should I do?

I am enrolled, part-time, in Pace University’s Dyson College of the Arts & Sciences Book Publishing Certificate Program. This could lead to big things in the publishing world, in terms of my career. On the other hand, it could show me just how much I do not want to work in there…though, I doubt it. The trick is going to be working my full-time job and going to school two nights a week. Luckily, I just found out that I have July 4th off for the holiday. Bully for me!

I am starting with one course: The Principles of Publishing. The textbook cost me about $27.73 on Amazon, depending on who is selling the book to you. Compared to my Undergraduate textbook costs, that was a bargain! Check out Publishing: Principles and Practice by Richard Guthrie if you are looking for an interesting background on all things publishing.

Raising Tattoo Awareness: Proceed Cautiously

As a woman who loves getting tattoos, and is thinking of getting more, this is something to really look into before having ink permanently pressed into my skin. Do not rush into getting your tattoo. Promise me, it is worth it, in the end, to have these conversations with your artist, prior to sitting down for the actual art.

Ask about the sterilization of the instruments.

Pay close attention to your artist as he preps the materials he needs to do your work.

Is he opening a new package of needles?

Are his hands clean looking?

Ask him if the ink in his store has ever been known to have trouble.

Check into customer feedback.

Take the time to think about the future, while getting your tattoo. Don’t be too busy living for today.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Tattoos are much more mainstream in recent days, but consumer complaints are up. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration is issuing a new warning about the dangers of tattoo inks. As CBS2 News’ Ana Wernner reported, it’s important information for anyone considering body art. San Francisco hairstylist Jarr Samuel loves…

via FDA Issues Warning About Dangers Of Tattoo Ink Following Consumer Complaints — CBS New York

Who hurts the most?

The scariest thing in the world is choosing to walk away from the one person you love more than anyone else in the world. How do you admit to the person you want most in this world that you have to part ways? Where is the break-up exit interview? Is there a severance pay that I qualify for?

Should it hurt as much as it does, when the person you love did not love you back?

Who actually feels the brunt of the heartache in a break-up? It’s the person who does the walking away. There are so many emotional suitcases full of clothing that needs to be hastily packed, fragile plates full of memories that need to be carefully and individually wrapped, and books containing your adventures must be delicately placed in boxes and stored away. Break-ups do not happen over night. They take days…sometimes months.

He and I should have ended things when I left Connecticut. But, we didn’t. I think we both wanted things to work out, but how do you admit to yourself that it isn’t?

He saved me from myself, and I am so, so happy that I met him and shared as many happy memories with him as I could, but he just didn’t love me as I loved him.

“Ay, there’s the rub”. – Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

It’s Mine

What is my life, if it is not mine?

I have been on this journey, for the past year, figuring out whose life I am living. Only recently did I figure out that it is my life.

This is my life.

My life is writing; my life is working as a Stylist; my life is whatever I damn well please it to be.

It’s mine.

This is my message to the world.

Sometimes, when we enter into a relationship, we lose parts of ourselves as we compromise for our partners. We should never have to give up parts of ourselves. We should never question the things we want in life and question our direction just because there is a new character introduced to our stories.

It has taken a year, but I feel that I am finally starting to pull it together.